On a recent return trip to Asia with Qatar Airways via Doha I was leaving from Frankfurt international airport (FRA) and had the chance to sample another lounge in terminal 1. I have been departing from this terminal before and wrote a review about one of the many Lufthansa lounges here.
I was a bit surprised about Qatar using terminal 1 in FRA as Qatar Airways is part of oneworld alliance and terminal 1 is primarily used by Lufthansa and other Star Alliance affiliates. I guess that is also the reason Qatar uses the Air Canada lounge since there are probably no non Star Alliance lounges in this terminal.
The Maple Leaf lounge is located in a rather quiet part of the upper level in the international departures area. Entering through sliding doors there is a long hallway leading towards the front desk, after checking in the lounge is on the other side of the wall next to said hallway.
To the left of the front desk the lounge starts with a bar area that features a solid selection of liquors, beers, soft drinks and two coffee machines that can produce espresso, cappuccino and hot chocolate. Hot is not really a suitable description actually given that the drinks from these machines turned out lukewarm at best.
To the other side right behind the front desk was a very low profile door leading to the restrooms. While the signage to the restrooms could have been a bit more obvious I have to note that the toilets where almost over the top stylish and most important extremely clean.
Further to the left of the bar area was the buffet with bread, 2 hot options and a round display of salads, fruits, baguettes and deserts.
While I liked the variety of the cold spread and fresh fruits the hot food was quite bland and very limited in the variety.
Opposite the bar and buffet area was the actual lounge which was huge and separated in multiple compartments of sorts. There was a row of lounge chairs and 1-on-1 tables near the windows as well as two round shaped areas with sofas and more rows of tables with lounge chairs in the middle of the room. At the far end of the lounge are separate pods with day beds to rest. It never really got crowded and the lounge always felt relaxed and spacious. I also liked the style a lot, the Maple Leaf lounge for sure provides a classy environment.
I was sitting by the windows in one of the comfortable chairs that also offered quite some nice views on the adjoining gates. At one of them was a Air Canada wide-body parked.
While I liked the view and comfy chair it got really hot by the windows. Germany isn’t usually a particularly warm country for most of the year and that day wasn’t anyhow more hot than usual, so I guess the air conditioning is just in general not that efficient.
Most tables featured conveniently placed power sockets either embedded in the floor or on the wall next to it. That is great if you want to work or recharge your devices before the flight but the other important tech component of lounges was a huge miss: the Wifi. The network was operated by Deutsche Telekom and I was never a big fan of their hotspots precisely because of issues like this. My iPhone was unable to connect at all despite countless attempts and resets of my network profile while my MacBook connected but got thrown out all the time and when it worked it was just ridiculously slow.
The lounge also had 2 flight information displays showing upcoming departures, gates and boarding states as well as TVs screening the news. Also available was a good selection of local and international newspapers.
In conclusion I really loved the style of Air Canadas Maple Leaf lounge in Frankfurt, it was very modern and slick. The lounge was clean and had lots of staff, which was friendly enough but maybe a bit cold. The buffet was somewhat good and somewhat bad, the hot food definitely needs more options and better quality. Drink choices and quality was much more consistent except for the not hot coffee. Comparing to the Lufthansa lounge in Frankfurts terminal 1 I would always prefer the Maple Leaf lounge.